Reprinted from Palestine Chronicle
Israeli commentators, Yaron Friedman, of "Ynet News" and Haviv Rettig Gur, of the "Times of Israel" are clueless about the driving force behind the Palestinian mobilization and collective struggle. In two recent articles, and with unmistakable conceit, they attempted to highlight what they perceive as the failure of the current Palestinian uprising, or "Intifada."
Gur argues that "the terrorism" of the Palestinians is not a surge of opposition to Israel but a "howl against the pervasive sense that resistance has failed." He reduces the Intifada to the mere act of alleged stabbing of Israelis, and points out to the painful truth that the Palestinian Authority "elites" are paying lip service to the "martyrs," while "simultaneously acting with determination on the ground to disrupt and stop attacks."
In his long-winded article, "Losing Palestine," Gur essentially claims that the current struggle against Occupation stems mostly from internet fervor and is more a deceleration of defeat than a strategy for victory, and that no Palestinian leader dares to be the first to accept this.
Friedman, on the other hand, describes the "knife Intifada" as a "fire without coal," that the "insane actions of the stabbers" is designed to ignite religious fervor, ultimately aimed at blaming the Jews.
Those who launched the Intifada "have no real internal or external support (financial or with weapons) and it broke out at a time when the nightmare of all the Arab world's leaders is the social protests turning into anarchy," he wrote.
There is little sense in arguing against the unsympathetic approach Zionist commentators use to describe Palestinians or their insistence on seeing Palestinian collective action, violent or otherwise, as an act of "terror"; on their refusal to see any context behind Palestinian anger or on how they inject a religious narrative at every turn, and lob "anti-Semitic" accusations unfairly, whenever they see fit.
But what is particularly interesting about the Israeli take on the Palestinian Intifada, as presented by Friedman, Gur and others in the media, including from within the Israeli political establishment, is the attempt to display an exaggerated sense of confidence, that unlike other uprisings, this one is a farce.
In fact, the Israelis are certain that the uprising is likely to deflate once the limited tools at its disposal are contained. This supposition has led Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, to meet with representatives of YouTube and Google "to discuss ways to cooperate in what she calls the fight against "inciting violence and terrorism," reported MEMO, citing Israeli daily, "Maariv."
This hasty self-assurance among Israeli state officials and media is predicated on several suppositions:
First, while the PA has not yet moved to take part in crushing the Intifada, it has done its utmost to thwart the people's effort at mobilizing Palestinians beyond the limited confines of the ruling Fatah faction and its worthless promises of peace and statehood.
The PA knows well that if the Intifada escalates beyond its current scale, it could undermine -- if not entirely challenge -- the PA itself, which has served for many years as a line of defense for the Israeli Occupation. Thanks to the "security coordination" between the Israeli army and the PA, Palestinian resistance in the West Bank has, until recently, been largely contained.
Second, Hamas, although it has openly called for an escalation of protests against Israel, is swamped in its own problems. The siege on Gaza, tightened further with the closure of the Rafah border and the desperate need to rebuild what successive Israeli wars have destroyed, makes it difficult for Hamas to take part in any effort that could open up another war front with Israel.
One must recall that the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014 was, itself, an Israeli attempt at redrawing the battle lines. At that time, a momentum for an Intifada was taking shape in the West Bank following an increase in Israeli army and settler violence against Palestinians. The war on Gaza managed to change the narrative of that budding conflict into an Israeli war aimed at defending its own borders, as Israeli hasbara dictated. Israel is now relying on the assumption that Hamas would avoid, at least for now, a repeat of that scenario which cost Palestinians over 2,200 lives and thousands of wounded and maimed, let alone the massive destruction of the already impoverished Strip.
Third, Arabs are consumed with their own regional fights, whether for political or sectarian domination. Almost every Arab country is somehow, either fully or partially, involved or is affected by the various wars and conflicts under way in Syria, Libya, Egypt's Sinai, Iraq and Yemen. The supposedly successful Tunisian model is suffering its own fallout, too, from militant violence, whether homegrown or that which spills over from violent borders.
Previous intifadas succeeded, or so goes the Israeli logic, because of Arab backing. But the most that Arabs have done is to pay lip service and nothing more. In fact, if the PA itself is keen on spoiling popular Palestinian initiatives, little can be expected of the Arabs, who are busy fighting one another.
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